Madrid hosted two FOREST EUROPE Ministerial Conferences in October 2015: the 7th Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe, and the Extraordinary Ministerial Conference that received the results of the work of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee for a Legally Binding Agreement on Forests in Europe. These two conferences were held back to back.
The 7th FOREST EUROPE Ministerial Conference, which was held on 20-21 October 2015, followed the Ministerial Conference held in Oslo in 2011, and is part of the regular mechanism of the FOREST EUROPE process, in which ministerial conferences are organized on a periodic basis. The ministers responsible for forests in Europe adopted here decisions and resolutions with regards to high priority topics related to European forests, such as: the enhancement of the social functions of forests and the potential role of forests in the transition to a green economy; the protection of forests in a changing environment; the need to address global challenges related to forests at the regional level and the future directions of the FOREST EUROPE process. Ministers’ commitments on these topics will serve as a framework for decisions related to these matters in the different European countries and will promote action at a pan-European level.
Three relevant reports were presented at the Conference:
- The FOREST EUROPE report ‘State of Europe’s Forests 2015’ (SoEF 2015), which analyses the status, changes and trends of forest indicators and forest management in Europe since the previous FOREST EUROPE Ministerial Conference.
- A report analysing the national and pan-European implementation of FOREST EUROPE commitments up to the 7th FOREST EUROPE Ministerial Conference, and focusing on activities since the 6th Ministerial Conference held in Oslo in 2011.
- A report including a mid-term evaluation on the level of accomplishment of the targets to be achieved by 2020 in support of the goals for European forests agreed at the Oslo Ministerial Conference in 2011.
In contrast to this, the FOREST EUROPE Extraordinary Ministerial Conference, which took place in the afternoon of 21 October 2015, is considered a singular meeting. It was conceived in 2011 in the Oslo Ministerial Mandate for Negotiating a Legally Binding Agreement on Forests in Europe with the specific aim of receiving and considering the results of these negotiations. It is convened in addition to the main, regular ‘ordinary’ conference of the FOREST EUROPE process. For reasons of time and resources efficiency, this Extraordinary Conference was held immediately after the 7th FOREST EUROPE Ministerial Conference.